There has been a lot of talk about kashrut lately. And while some of it has been related to foods actually being certified kosher, a lot of it is simply about whether food is or isn’t fit for consumption.
There’s still a lot of talk lingering from the big news that New York’s Mayor Bloomberg, ever on an anti-obesity crusade, wants to ban supersized soft drinks in the city, meaning drinks that are more than 16 ounces. One of the key arguments–beyond the health implications of these drinks–is that it’s really hard to tell just how much you are consuming and that’s completely intentional. (I recommend the accompanying quiz to prove it.) In other words, New York’s near future may involve a world in which soft drinks are no longer “kosher.”
On Monday, fish markets and grocery stores were selling something new (sort of). For the first time since the March 2011 tsunami that turned into a nuclear disaster, fish caught in the region were available for purchase–in this case octopus and a type of snail, so not kosher, strictly speaking. But, after extensive testing, these fish were determined free of radiation and thus fit for consumption. Other fish, of the more kosher variety, are expected to be available soon, but there are still concerns about radiation.
And, of course, there was the big fuss last week over Hebrew National Hot Dogs, which are actually labeled kosher, but, apparently, are not. As it turns out, ConAgra employees who process the meat have been complaining that the meat involved doesn’t actually meet kosher standards. Now Hebrew National’s new “higher authority” is a federal court in Minnesota where the company is being tried for misleading customers and misrepresenting their product. So even food that we think is fit to eat, might not be kosher.
No matter your news source, food is in every type of media outlet these days. We want to know where our food comes from, what it’s made of, who made it, how to do it ourselves, what to call it… the list of ways to talk and think about food is endless. Here are a few recent stories that span the spectrum of food articles:
NPR put out a story over radio waves about the timeless summer camp/college dorm room debate: Pop, soda, or coke?
Are natural sweeteners like stevia good or bad? Marion Nestle, professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health and professor of Sociology at NYU, takes a look at some of the research in her blog, Food Politics.
Hazon, the organization that is taking on Jewish food systems and the environment, started a new program in the Bay Area last year called Home for Dinner with the goal of encouraging families to cook and eat dinner together and think about their food. Judith Belasco, Director of Programs at Hazon, lays out some of the reasons she thinks this is such an important issue.
New York’s Mayor Bloomberg has never hidden his agenda against soda/pop/coke in New York as part of his anti-obesity efforts. It started with ads picturing cups full of fat in the “Pouring on the Pounds” campaign, now he’s going after super-sized drinks and people aren’t too pleased.
Speaking of New York, pets there are apparently as snobby about food as their parents.